How to Use the Internet Safely
We spend a lot of time online these days. It’s how we communicate, shop, find directions, and more. But the internet is a complicated place, and it’s possible to run into trouble online if you aren’t careful. Since knowing is half the battle, we’ve got some basic security tips to help keep you safe while you’re online.
1. Use the right type of internet connection
Not all internet connections are the same, and the type of connection you’re on can have a big impact on your safety and security. There are several different types of internet connections that you might run into:
- Private Wi-Fi. This network or hotspot requires a password to access it.
- Public Wi-Fi. This network either has no password or the password is posted for anyone to find.
- Mobile internet. This is the LTE or 5G connection your phone uses. Mobile internet doesn’t require a password, but it’s more secure than public Wi-Fi because your data is generally encrypted for safety.
- Satellite internet. Satellite internet uses satellites to send signals, instead of underground cables or towers. This network is most common in rural areas.
Since anyone can connect to a public network, it’s possible for people to see what you’re doing online, access your devices, or steal your personal information. If you’re using a public network, never enter any passwords or other private information.
2. Always know who you’re talking to
Avoid sharing personal information with strangers. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know on social media. It’s also a good idea to go through your friends and followers every once in a while, and remove anyone you don’t recognize or trust.
Why? The people you’re friends with can see any personal information you share, like addresses. You don’t want strangers knowing where you’re at. In fact, it’s a good idea to not post your address or location at all. If you need to share it, do so in a private message or text.
3. Don’t open anything from a stranger
Knowing what you can trust online is important. One of the oldest internet safety rules is to never open anything from someone you don’t know. This situation is one of the most common ways to get infected with a computer virus. This tip goes for email attachments, links in text messages, and AirDrops from strangers. To go a step further, set your AirDrop settings to Contacts Only so random strangers can’t send you things you don’t want.
4. Talk to an adult about anything strange you see on the internet
If you come across anything that makes you uncomfortable or suspicious, don’t be afraid to quickly leave the web page and share about it with an adult you trust. You should be open and honest about what you see on the internet, and asking someone about it won’t get you in trouble.
The internet is such a part of our lives that it can be easy to forget that we need to be careful. These basics will go a long way toward keeping you safe so you can relax and get the most out of your time online.
Victoria Schmid enjoys writing about technology for the “everyday” person. She is a specialist in online business marketing and consumer technology. She has a background in broadcast journalism.
Parents: As your kids learn how to navigate the world wide web within the safety of the guidelines you’ve set up, learn about tools to help you monitor internet activity with the best parental control app.